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Saturday, August 21, 2004

Please Allow Me To Introduce Myself

In a week or so, I'm headed to Chicago in order to finish my schooling. For the first time in my life, I will be assigned to live with a roommate I do not know. Last week, he sent me a long, perhaps excessively articulate, straightforward introduction. Seems like an okay person, but what can one e-mail tell.

Well, what can one e-mail tell? I decided to have a bit of fun and write back with my own introduction. While I play at excessive articulation, being straightforward is not my forte. So I amused myself enough in reply that I'm posting most of it here for your entertainment as well.

Back in the days when I was allowed to study things outside of my major, I took a bit of creative writing. The number one rule I remember is "show, don't tell." With that in mind, as well as the fact that I've never been good at describing myself directly (see paragraph 2), I offer a series of facts and stories, sometimes taken out of context, that may or may not provide a picture of myself that is accurate. But the point is not to be accurate. The point is to amuse myself and potentially you.

In high school, I was once asked to introduce myself with an adjective of the same letter as my name. I couldn't think of anything, so I said "Really Rowan." My ex-girlfriend suggested retarded when she heard this story, which was very amusing to me, because about 8 months before, she had been on everyone's case for using 'lame,' let alone 'retarded.'

I'm not certain if 'really' is an adjective in this case. I didn't learn much grammar by name. Not only am I happy with this, I also believe that it's the best way to learn, and will argue (but not for very long, I get bored) about this.

I rather like philosophy of language. Or rather, I hate it. Or something in-between. I'm majoring in history, but have more than my share of philosophy. History, because I like it, philosophy because I hate it, therefore it at least interests me. Favorite Living Philosopher: Jean Baudrillard. Least Favorite Dead Philosopher: Plato.

Speaking of language, my favorite word used to be 'myriad.' I would use it in all my papers, because it has a myriad of different uses. I think my favorite right now is 'alacrity.' I am currently working in a school, and often have to hurry the kids across a road. I want to say "With alacrity, children!" It would be fairly ineffective, given the fact that these are 8-11 year olds here to learn English, and chances are, they won't know 'alacrity.' There's still a decent chance it would work as well as whatever I say.

I am working at a school as part of Antioch's co-operative education program. I hope you know about Antioch if you're going to be dealing with me. If not, you'll learn in a hurry. It'll be fun. For me. Maybe.

Speaking of fun for me, if I thought of a good lie to throw into this description, I would not hesitate to use it, as, again, I am doing this primarily for my own amusement. How could I be amused by lying to someone I'll be spending months with? I think fiddling with identity is fun.

A good friend of mine, and a former business partner, also thinks that fiddling with identity is fun, and to that end, he collected a bunch of instant messenger away messages from a friend's cousin or younger brother or something, collected them in a scrapbook, and showed up on the kid's doorstep saying he was from the future and gave him the scrapbook. He collected various parts of the process, and displayed them at Antioch's gallery during an outsider art exhibition.

This same friend is in a Jewish parody hip-hop group called the Ju-Tang Clan. This summer, I have had a dearth of new music, and ended up listening to their album to the point where it has probably been my favorite album of the summer. They will bury you with obscure Judeaica and a sock full of nickels.

I love iTunes, because I can rate songs, and it keeps track of how many times I have played said songs. I have had it for 10 months. My most played song is Outkast's Flip Flop Rock, which has been played 82 times. The second place song has been played 46 songs, which may give you an idea of how much I like Flip Flop Rock.

It also gives me an idea of how much I like the song. I find it difficult to say "I like this x amount," therefore I try to find quantifiable ways to discuss things that are not really quantifiable, such as what my favorite songs are. Well, I can just look at what I've played the most, and I can't argue with that, can I? (I can, based on knowing the process by which these play counts appeared, say that certain songs are at an unfair disadvantage, but not of the main ones) But on the other hand, I know that the song I usually call my favorite, Sleater-Kinney's "Turn It On", is only rated 7th with a play count of merely 40. In addition to that, it is the only Sleater-Kinney song to appear in the top 25, while I usually describe them as my favorite band.
I particularly enjoy quantifying personal relationships. For example, I derived great amusement from telling someone the other day that "66 point 6 bar per cent of the people I've ever had relationships with have had funny piercings."

The urge to quantify should not be taken to indicate that I am a big fan of math. I cannot stress this enough. Actually, I probably can, I'm not captain mathematics, but it didn't demand my first-born child in sacrifice. And earlier this summer, I was rocking the math teaching. What WHAT, long division. That's what I thought. Damn.

I (very nearly) have completed my Senior Project at Antioch. It was a 50-page original research project entitled "Stokely Carmichael: Portrait of Black Power." It examined the life of Carmichael, as well as media representation, and looked and how that all converged to create the firestorm, focusing on him, as the leader of the Black Power movement.

I would be willing to wager money on the fact that that last paragraph is the only one in this little story not have any direct, intentional irony - hardly a fair wager, as I'm writing this damn thing, so only I can be the judge, but still. I should note that the fact that I say things with irony does NOT necessarily mean that they are actually funny, and that you should find them funny. You should note this too. I cannot stress this enough, and this time, I really mean that I cannot stress this enough.

Speaking of wagers, I have been known to enjoy an occasional poker game. And by occasional, I mean I played pretty much every night through my last term at Antioch, with streaks only really broken apart by me trying to finish the Senior Project. I am not certain that I want to end this by apparently saying that I'm a gambling addict, but I've run out of clever segu├ęs, and I would much rather be clever than be complete.

I hope this gives entirely the wrong impression.
- Rowan Kaiser, 11:22 AM
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